Saturday, October 19, 2002

Mmmm, That's Good Squishy

Speaking of 'Electronic Counter Measures', at least in the non-military sense, here is the real thing. I discovered, in the colonialist sense, the double-plus cool via the double-plus essential memepool. Seriously. Essential. Memepool. Bookmark. Now.
Electronic Counter Measures

Kaus has a link (and an opinion unfortunately) to the following Fox News poll question (up currently at evote*): "On a personal level, do you think you would feel safer or less safe if Al Gore were the president today?" Apparently, some 48% said less safe. Kaus seems to think this oh-so-important poll is being underplayed (though amazingly he doesn't wonder why the NYT hasn't run a story pegged to the poll result on it's front page). Well, that's probably 'cause aside from Fox, where it's just more stupid grist for the idiot mill, everyone recognizes it as terribly trivial and meaningless. Besides, hasn't the press gotten its quota of Gore bashing lately? And is it just me or does the question seem badly designed? Like maybe there's an important "than" phrase missing? I, for one, feel less safe today no matter who the President is.

*Don't miss evote's Wizard-of-Oz-worthy about us page.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Office of National Drug Control Propaganda

This is Dan. First of all, Dan's drug dealer is hot. If all weed dealers were this cute, the ONDCP would be in serious trouble. The only conclusions I can draw from this ad is either:

a) Those British Columbian "cartels" are more vicious than I thought


b) We should grow more of our own weed in the US. Buy American!
Welcome to Electronic Counter Measures

Care to know how the Bush Administration is doing in getting the UN Security Council to go along with the administration's Iraq plans and what the Pentagon is doing to enact it's plans? As usual, your best bet is to ping overseas. By the way, the Iraqis might, just might, hate us.

(ECM is a new feature of SdB. Motto: "Quip to quip with the World of Blog.")
An Open Letter To Noelle

Noelle, liebchen, darling addled flower of the Florida Bushes, may I, to borrow a phrase, say I feel your pain? May I go further and say I would like to scoop you up im my arms, hold you closely, and with my gentle fingers bestill the coke-induced quivering of your lubricious lips? For you are alluring, related to the powerful, and presumably as well-educated as one can expect a Bush to be, and because I too know the pain of being raised by the hand of high-handed arrogance in an ethnically mixed family (in my own case Leichtensteiner and Turk).

I too, Noelle, dumpling learned in the bosom of my family that chemical enhancement could ease the pains of life. How vividly I recall those mornings out on the garden terrace where my parents would swill smuggled duty-free liqour, my father regally settled in a fine deck chair, my mother taking nips while scrubbing the expensive tile which, my father would say, was naturally befitting a Turk (my sister Cassandra and I were assigned the task of polishing the silver). Too soon I was also calming my tender nerves at the family trough and from there it was but a short step into full-blown dangerous drug dependency as I traipsed through the party spots and back alleys of the continent and the States. Embarassing to the family? Surely. Particularly after it was discovered that papa was keeping some of the residents of the family properties in what amounted to serfdom. My failings made it all to easy for base critics to howl that we were decadent, atavistic aristos. I ended up in rehab as papa fought back mightily, rightly pointing out that it was the government's job, not his, to free its citizens from peonage.

As for myself, the rehabilitation process was difficult. More than once I was caught in the ecstatic throes of a drug binge at the facility in which I was ensconced, and subsequently yanked from there and consigned to languish in the dungeons of the traditional family seat of Rotarschaffen Schloss for up to two miserable weeks. My trials finally ended when I became tired of being bounced hither and yon, and co-incidentally my father gave up his quest for power. My family was able to come together to focus on what was truly important and provide the loving support I needed. So, Noelle, do not give up the fight just yet. There is hope in the form of your own strength and Bill McBride. And, perhaps, one day we could get together?

Thursday, October 17, 2002

It's Not About Oil, It's Not About Oil, It's Not About Oil.....

If we keep saying enough times maybe we'll start believing it.

Linky to the an article in the Observer. And it's not like the US is the only nation that thinks so. Russia's angle:

Russian business has long-standing interests in Iraq. Lukoil, the biggest oil company in Russia, signed a $20bn contract in 1997 to drill the West Qurna oilfield. Such a deal could evaporate along with the Saddam regime, together with a more recent contract with Russian giant Zarubezhneft, which was granted a potential $90bn concession to develop the bin Umar oilfield. The total value of Saddam's foreign contract awards could reach $1.1 trillion, according to the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2001.

Even the prickly Frnch are caving in their 'pricipled stance' for all the euros they can get their mitts on:

Government sources say they fear - existing concessions aside - France could be cut out of the spoils if it did not support the war and show a significant military presence. If it comes to war, France is determined to be allotted a more prestigious role in the fighting than in the 1991 Gulf war, when its main role was to occupy lightly defended ground. Negotiations have been going on between the state-owned TotalFinaElf company and the US about redistribution of oil regions between the world's major companies.

Finally, we have an issue upon which all nations of the world can agree.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

No Newshounding Today

Shooter in DC, bomber in Bali, War in Iraq, Politcal Machinations in Washington, Bloggers Gone Wild, Corporate Whoring and so on, but none of it from SdB today. Instead, a long overdue update of the State of the Blog.

Fact is, we are moving to soon, but the precise move date is not exactly known. We are still working with the site layout and backend, of which I understand little, but I seem to nod at all the right moments. Hosting is set up, and we are almost ready to go.....

Also, I'm going to rename the "Daily Bummer" to the "Ongoing Crisis." This means mucking around in the archives and so forth, the prospect of which fills me with bilious joy. Eventually, SdB is going to consist of regular and semi-regular features, so as to provide focus on exactly what our point is anyway. Obviously, SdB will continue to work/comment on politcal issues of the day, but we'd like to branch out, looking at various other sociological phenomena as well. "Commodify Your Dissent" is our first tentative step in doing so.

Also, I'm going to beef up the links over there on the right to include all of the important news and blogs that goes into this fine instrument of instapunditobloggojournalism. Gotta go; the cat is horking up something fiendishly big and ugly, sort of like Rumsfeld with his lie of the day. What will he spew forth today?

Finally, Jakob Fyrste has cleared up his visa problems with the principality of Leichtenstein (something about overdue library books and fomenting revolution) and will now contribute regularly to SdB. Welcome aboard, Jake.

Stay Tuned.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Lies Become Facts, No One Notices

Bush Makes Stuff Up, Media Doesn't Even Bother to Care Anymore

"We need to think about Saddam Hussein using al-Qaida to do his dirty work, to not leave fingerprints behind," Bush said Monday at a rally for Michigan's GOP candidates.

"This is a man who we know has had connections with al-Qaida. This is a man who, in my judgment, would like to use al-Qaida as a forward army," Bush said later at a Dearborn, Mich. fund-raiser.

Our new standard of evidence is one man's opinion (or more like 'desperate wish'), apparently. There has not been one SHRED of credible evidence concluding that Al Qaeda and Saddam are in cahoots, yet this is the Bush party line. Take the terror perpetrated on 9-11, and then overlay it on a completely seperate issue.

"We will fight, if need be, the war on terror on two fronts," Bush said three days after Congress gave him authority to use force against Saddam Hussein. "Iraq is part of the war on terror."

If thousands of lives weren't in the balance, the Bush Adminstration's tortuous leaps in logic would be cosmically hilarious. If a Bush lies in public, and no one is around to report it, does anyone care?

The Dumbasses Finally Figure a Way into the DC Sniper Story

Yucko the Clown Demostrates That There is no Common Decency in our Society. *sigh* I should have guessed that somehow the classless ass Howard Stern would be involved in this.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Soldiers, Inc. - America's Private Army?

New York Times Businees Section - Your Money (it's behind NYT's online registration wall, so make sure you tell 'em that you are an 86 year old widow from Pitcairn making 150K/year as a student):

With the war on terror already a year old and the possibility of war against Iraq growing by the day, a modern version of an ancient practice — one as old as warfare itself — is reasserting itself at the Pentagon. Mercenaries, as they were once known, are thriving — only this time they are called private military contractors, and some are even subsidiaries of Fortune 500 companies.

While I quibble with the linguistic legerdemain of equating "military contractor" with "mercenary" (because the former has always been an acceptable part of our overall DoD stragey probably from General Washington onward, whereas the latter is, to my mind, a much more selective and unsavory occupation), I think the article raises some interesting points.

During the Persian Gulf war in 1991, one of every 50 people on the battlefield was an American civilian under contract; by the time of the peacekeeping effort in Bosnia in 1996, the figure was one in 10. No one knows for sure how big this secretive industry is, but some military experts estimate the global market at $100 billion. As for the public companies that own private military contractors, they say little if anything about them to shareholders.

To me, that's a shocking amount of people ostensibly carrying out US military missions while not being held to accoutability either military or American law. And abuses and indiscretions have already happened:

In Bosnia, employees of DynCorp were found to be operating a sex-slave ring of young women who were held for prostitution after their passports were confiscated. In Croatia, local forces, trained by MPRI, used what they learned to conduct one of the worst episodes of "ethnic cleansing," an event that left more than 100,000 homeless and hundreds dead and resulted in war-crimes indictments. No employee of either firm has ever been charged in these incidents.

In Peru last year, a plane carrying an American missionary and her infant was accidentally shot down when a private military contractor misidentified it as on a drug smuggling flight.

Is the use of military contracting a way to get around congressional and public oversight for politically or internationally dubious (and even sinister) operations? For instance, the State Department recently approved one firm to do security consultant in Equatorial Guinea:

Most recently, it went toe to toe with the State Department, and won, gaining permission to do business in Equatorial Guinea, a country with a deplorable human rights record where the United States does not have an embassy.

After two years of lobbying at the State Department, and after being turned down twice on human rights grounds, MPRI was finally given approval last year to work with President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, whom the State Department describes as holding power through torture, fraud and a 98 percent election mandate. MPRI advised President Obiang on building a coast guard to protect the oil-rich waters being explored by Exxon Mobil off the coast. (emphasis added)

Once again, I'm sure that oil company interests and Bush Administration issues being one and the same are just a coincedence.....

Anyway, check out the full article. It's a fascinating read on the changing nature of war and how it is conducted in the post-Cold War era.